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Where Is This Magical Beer? 

A selective list of the establishments brewing and promoting Tucson beer

1702 / The Address Brewing

Before Tucson's craft beer boom, there was 1702. This ice-cream-shop-turned-pizza-and-beer place has been pouring an ever-changing selection of 46 draft beers at (you guessed it) 1702 E. Speedway Blvd. for graduate students, professionals and craft beer enthusiasts for more than half a decade. Beyond serving guest beers, 1702 also operates a three-barrel brewing system under the name The Address Brewing and regularly features one or two of its monsoon-themed beers on its beer list. With its oversized pizza slices, gourmet ice cream and colossal beer menu, 1702/The Address Brewing remains a mighty fixture in Tucson's burgeoning craft beer scene.

Barrio

Getting to Barrio Brewing Co. the first time can be a challenge, but rest assured, your search will be rewarded with tasty pub fare and craft beers that pair just as well with blistering summer afternoons as they do with cool February nights on the patio. Last year was a big year for Barrio, with the installation of a canning line and the completion of the event-centric "IPA Room" taking center stage. Yet, despite the changes, the relaxed atmosphere and diverse customer demographic of Barrio's brewpub at 800 E. 16th St. remain the same. Bonus tip: Ask about "Rail Pints" when you see a train!

Borderlands

Borderlands Brewing Co. has been brewing up a storm of Southwest-inspired brews by the train tracks at 119 E. Toole Ave. since 2011. While Borderlands' beer can be found on tap throughout Arizona, visiting its cozy downtown taproom is essential to experiencing what sets this brewery apart. You'll find a spacious interior where rustic warehouse design unites with the glimmer of stainless steel fermenters to create the perfect space for casual meetings and afternoon chill sessions. With its beer portfolio spanning the style spectrum and regularly crossing into experimental territory, Borderlands is a must-visit brewery for any beer lover.

Dragoon

Tucson beer lovers are surely no strangers to Dragoon Brewing's ever-growing portfolio of expertly crafted beers. The subdued and sleek styling of Dragoon's black tap handles has found a home in more than 100 bars and restaurants in Arizona, with flagships like the Dragoon IPA and toasty-yet-refreshing Stronghold Session offering reliable flavor and quality no matter where they're found. Whether you like your beer hoppy and strong, light and fruity, or dark as motor oil, Dragoon has a brew to suit every palate. Drop into the taproom at 1859 W. Grant Road Wednesday through Saturday to see which seasonals and one-offs are on tap. Your taste buds will love you for it.

Good Oak Bar

It's always Arizona Beer Week at Tucson's Good Oak Bar, where eight beer taps pour Arizona brews exclusively. Located in the center of the downtown action at 316 E. Congress St., Good Oak Bar invokes the intimate feeling of that dimly lit English pub you've always wanted as your local watering hole. With its signature beer cocktails, coffee-pressed ales, locally sourced pub fare and antique photo booth, Good Oak Bar should quickly become a regular stop in any craft beer lover's downtown explorations.

Nimbus

Long before craft beer became a common sight on liquor and grocery store shelves, Nimbus Brewery's anthropomorphized simian mascot could be found on bottles of ale throughout Arizona and surrounding states.  Though the Nimbus Bistro is now closed, Nimbus still bottles beer for distribution and serves beer daily at its brewery at 3850 E. 44th St. Its six-beer lineup, including the lauded "Old Monkeyshine" English strong ale and the "Dirty Guera" blond ale, is destined for new markets thanks to a New York distributor, ensuring a strong future for Nimbus Brewery.

Noble Hops

Take one part craft beer pub, two parts bistro and add a heated patio with a breathtaking view of the Catalina Mountains and you have Noble Hops. Named for the family of mellow, earthy and strongly aromatic hops used in continental European beer styles, Noble Hops takes the best in modern culinary trends and unites them with an impressive selection of 28 rotating beers on tap and bottles from around the world. As one of the only beer-centric spots in greater Tucson with an unobstructed mountain view, this gastropub at 1335 W. Lambert Lane in Oro Valley is the perfect place for indulging your senses on any occasion.

Sentinel Peak

Sentinel Peak Brewing Co., the newest establishment to join the local beer scene, is Tucson's eighth operating brewery. After dealing with the challenges that face every brewery before opening, including finding space and performing often-lengthy construction, Sentinel Peak opened at 4746 E. Grant Road in January.  Sentinel's three partners make full use of the space available at their shopping center location by brewing double batches on their 1 1/2-half-barrel system, giving Sentinel an effective brewing capacity of three barrels.  With its polished concrete bar, abundant table space and light-fare menu, Sentinel Peak is a great place to relax and observe the rising tide of Tucson's beer culture.

Tap & Bottle

Craft beer takes center stage at Tap & Bottle, where 20 taps and approximately 500 bottled beers exist solely to tantalize the taste buds of beer drinkers. The draft selection is constantly rotating, meaning that when a keg blows, a brand-new beer goes in its place. Don't have time for a pint? T&B fills growlers and sells all bottles to go, ensuring customers don't have to settle for mediocre beer when time is in short supply. If the beer selection at this shop at 403 N. Sixth Ave. proves to be too overwhelming, the staff of certified beer servers is ready to recommend beers to suit any preference.

Ten Fifty-Five

Just a year old, Ten Fifty-Five Brewing has already found a place as one of Arizona's most innovative breweries. A visit to its three-barrel brewhouse at 3810 E. 44th St. will yield a flavor adventure for any beer lover, with many of its brews being run through randalls (small containers installed between kegs and tap faucets) filled with quirky ingredients like black tea, Thai chiles, cinnamon sticks and fresh grapefruit. As beer runs through the randalls, the alcohol strips flavor from whatever is inside and imparts it to the beer, creating style-defying flavor profiles that will excite even the most jaded palate.

Thunder Canyon

With a beer portfolio that includes more than 60 different recipes, Thunder Canyon Brewery is a testament to Tucson's longstanding affinity for craft beer. While most of TCB's brewing still happens at the Foothills Mall brewpub, the new 40-tap location at 220 E. Broadway Blvd. has become not only a great destination for hand-crafted beer and food but also an ideal spot to experience guest beers from around the country. Be sure to get a taste of TCB's nitro and cask ales, which will throw your taste buds for a spin with their rich and velvety complexity.

World of Beer

Who says sports bars have to serve fizzy yellow beer? With 50 rotating taps—all dedicated to craft brands—and hundreds of bottles to choose from, World of Beer is a destination for world-class beer, live entertainment and beer-centric bites. Since opening its Tucson location at 350 E. Congress St. last Halloween, World of Beer has brought a bevy of never-before-seen-in-Tucson beers to the downtown area and helped bolster the city's appreciation for nonmacro brands. Whether you're looking for a quick lunch and a brew or jonesing for a Belgian ale before last call, World of Beer has something to offer beer drinkers of every caliber.

More Breweries Coming

The Tucson beer boom shows no signs of slowing down as two more breweries prepare to open in central Tucson.

Iron John's Brewing Company, a two-barrel operation, is setting up shop at 245 S. Plumer Ave., No. 27, and plans to bottle rather than keg all of its beers. With a coffee-chocolate imperial stout, rye whiskey-oaked barleywine, red rye lager and an obligatory IPA slated for its March opening, you can expect an ongoing assortment of big, complex beers from veteran brewer John Adkisson.

Opening later this spring is Pueblo Vida, a seven-barrel brewhouse that plans to offer four flagship beers—an aggressively hopped IPA, a Bavarian hefeweizen, a California common and a brown porter—and an ongoing rotation of seasonal styles. Located at 115 E. Broadway Blvd., Pueblo Vida's taproom will feature an exposed warehouse design with the brewery in plain view for a cozy and intimate atmosphere.

More by Christian Cortes

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